Published on: 28th Oct 2015
A complete ban on roaming charges for using mobile phones abroad in the EU will take effect in June 2017 and clear rules on the right to internet access will become law following the European Parliament’s final approval of the new telecoms package.
Roaming fees for calling, sending text messages and using the mobile internet abroad in the EU (and in EEA countries) will be banned from 15 June 2017.
In addition, from 30 April 2016 roaming surcharges (added to the price paid at home) must not exceed:
- €0.05 per minute for outgoing voice calls
- €0.02 for text messages (SMS), or
- €0.05 per megabyte of mobile internet use.
The cap on charges for incoming voice calls will be determined later this year and is expected to be considerably lower than for outgoing calls.
Recovering costs and preventing abuse
If operators can prove that they cannot recover their costs and that this affects domestic prices, national regulatory authorities or regulatory authorities may authorize them to impose minimal surcharges in exceptional circumstances to recover these costs.
Politicians secured guarantees that national regulatory authorities will have the means to amend or reject the surcharges.
To protect the industry against abuses such as “permanent roaming”, operators could in certain circumstances be allowed to charge a small fee, lower than current caps, according to a “fair use” policy. The exact details for this will be defined by the Commission and telecoms regulators.
Mobile broadband speeds
MEPs ensured that mobile networks will have to give users who are about to sign contracts a clear explanation of what download and upload speeds (compared to the advertised speed) they can usually expect.
Any significant discrepancy that is continuous or occurs regularly will trigger a right to remedies such as terminating the contract or getting compensation.
The national regulatory authorities will be responsible for verifying whether the difference is a breach of contract or not.